Gary Bowyer believes his players have managed to put a smile back on the faces of everyone involved with Blackpool FC.
The manager’s comments come as his side prepare to take on Luton Town in the first leg of their play-off semi-final at Bloomfield Road on Sunday evening.
It’s been an impressive turnaround by the Seasiders, who have managed to stem the tide of successive relegations and be in with a shout of an instant return to League One.
But Bowyer knows that blocking Blackpool’s path to a Wembley final against Exeter or Carlisle is a Luton team that the Seasiders haven’t managed to take a point off or score against this season.
The Pool boss said: “When we first took over, it was about rebuilding the club, trying to get good people in, working with them and getting smiles on people’s faces again. We’ve managed to do that so far.
“But now we’re in the play-offs we’ve got to give it a right good go, commit to the work we need to do and see where it takes us.”
When Bowyer arrived at Bloomfield Road last June, the club was embroiled in turmoil on and off the pitch.
While the off-field problems don’t appear to be subsiding anytime soon, with a major court case looming, things have stabilised on the pitch – and that is thanks to Bowyer putting a team together who are willing to fight for the tangerine shirt.
And that’s who the Pool boss believes deserves the credit – the players.
Asked if his players have exceeded expectations this season, Bowyer replied: “No, because they’ve been committed and prepared to do the work to improve.
“That’s what we wanted. We wanted those people in and we recruited those people.
“Now they’ve got the opportunity to keep on improving in these games we’ve got coming up in the play-offs.”
Despite having a full week to prepare and recover for Sunday’s first leg, Bowyer says there will be no time to relax.
He added: “There won’t be too much resting because we’ve got a lot of work to do.
“Against Leyton Orient last Saturday we should have converted more of the chances we created.
“We know we’re going to have to be ruthless against Luton, so that’s something for us to work on.”